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My Progress Blog

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Day 1223

Have pateience with 
everything
unresolved in your
heart and try to
love the questions
themselves as if
they were locked 
rooms or books
written in a 
foreign language. 

Don’t search for
the answers, which 
could not be given
to you now, because
you would not be
able to live them. 
And the point is,
to live everything. Live
the questions now.

Perhaps then,
someday far in the 
future, you will
gradually, without
even noticing it,
live your way into
the answer.

~Rainier Maria Rilke

Day 1009

Back after a long trip to a warm country and one renowned for its wine.  I did not drink and my husband did very little. We had a fabulous trip and it took nothing way from our trip to do it without wine.  We did lots of hiking and sightseeing, and felt energized and healthy the whole time versus constantly a little or a lot hungover.  These trips continue to prove to me that it is such a lie that our mind tells us that drinking makes things better, easier, more fun.  It is habit and it is a rewarding habit, until it isn’t and then it is hard to stop.  I am a better version of myself physically, emotionally and mentally without alcohol. 

Day 934

A new year with all the possibilities that offers. I look back on my healing from alcohol abuse and I see how it is probably one of the single best things I have ever done for myself. Was it hard? Yes. Is it still sometimes hard? At times, during the holidays, when others are having a glass of wine I can feel a yearning which is fairly short lived. Mostly, I don’t think about drinking at all.  Truth is, I know that my drinking was not idyllic, more like it consumed my thoughts throughout much of the day and not in a good way. I will not drink again. 
To me, I feel that the term alcoholic has such negative connotations that I am not willing to embrace. But I do wholeheartedly accept that my life is much, much better without alcohol and I accept the fact that alcohol had a hold on me that others do not experience. I tried repeatedly but was not able to moderate long term and I would not be able to now either. A learned behaviour that rewarded me for a while and worked as an escape but eventually I crossed the threshold and it no longer worked. 
With the help of a counsellor, I have been able to work through and let go of hurts from the past. I am able to take care of myself emotionally and I feel a deep sense of happiness at times that was unknown to me while drinking. This work is ongoing, a lifetime of work and although very difficult, so very satisfying. I feel myself opening up to life’s possibilities versus hiding away in fear and shame. 
Don’t give up hope about turning your life around. Everyone can do this. You need to find the supports and tools that work for you. Don’t put it off. There really is no good or convenient time to quit. Life can get much worse though and I am only happy that I quit before that happened. 

Day 859

Living without alcohol is a given now in my life, and not really something that I even think of very often. My life continues to get richer and fuller as I open to possibilities that I would never have entertained in my past alcohol-soaked life. Alcohol had become such a trap filled with feelings of guilt and sadness. Counselling has really helped me get at the reason why I drank and what I was trying to numb. It is helping me understand my past and present. There is such hope and joy in life beyond alcohol and I am grateful every day that I finally made the leap and quit entirely. I feel like I have a second chance at life and I am so much more content, secure and aware. 

Day 730

Two years and what is different?
1) I can trust myself that I can handle what life throws at me.
2) I am learning to be braver and more honest about my feelings.
3) I am feeling more confident to risk attempting things outside my comfort zone.
4) I am working through and letting go of things from my past.
5) I am fully present as a wife, a mother, a grandmother.
6) I am experiencing the natural world in a much more appreciative and deeper way.
7) I feel proud of myself for all that I have done these past two years.
8) I am looking forward to the future with anticipation and certainty that all will work out well.


Day 652

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves.......Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."

           ~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letter to a Young Poet

Day 641

“It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn't depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn't depend on how long you've held on to the old view. 

 When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn't matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades.

 The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn't see before.

 Its never too late to take a moment to look.”

 Sharon SalzbergReal Happiness: The Power of Meditation

 

 

“We need the courage to learn from our past and not live in it.” 

 Sharon SalzbergThe Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love & Compassion



Day 640

Counselling again today and what a release that has proven to be.  We are all capable of emotional growth and healing no matter what our age.  We can move beyond a life of fear and unhappiness.  We can understand our past and let it go. We can come to understand what we were medicating with alcohol.  There is hope.

Day 578

So glad that this website is up and running again.  I have missed musing on here.  A new year ahead and I am feeling that things are unfolding in a positive way.  An opportunity for travel has come up that I am really excited about.  I am believing more and more that if I can work to get myself in a positive place, great opportunities appear in ways I would never have been able anticipate.  I am feeling less that I need to try really hard to get things right, and more that I need to step up and be present in life and things will unfold in a good way.  I am trusting the process and I am not in a rush. 

Day 555

Looking at my last year's entries around this time and all the Christmas triggers that I felt to drink.  I am not really feeling that this year.  Most often, I have really enjoyed a cup of tea or sparkling water while others have wine or a cocktail.  I have not really felt the missing-out-on-things that I felt last year.  The feeling of sacrifice and doing without is not really evident.  That truly is a wonderful step forward in my sobriety journey as I see the difference in my attitude and outlook.  I really have adjusted to this new normal and it feels so very freeing.  Alcohol's grasp has loosened and I am in charge now.  

Not that I think that I would be able to drink again and be fully in control.  I believe that I would soon be back where I was- drinking more than I wanted at times and obsessing about that.  I am grateful in so many ways that I had the strength and courage to keep at this and to get further and further away from my last drink.  That separation has really allowed me to see the reality of what my life was and where I might have been heading.  

I feel pride and confidence about my decision to stop drinking entirely.  I do see that it  was the right one for me in so many ways.  

I also see clearly how intertwined alcohol is with all celebrations in our culture.  For those who have no trouble moderating, it is not an issue. For those who do, it is a constant struggle.  I am glad that struggle is over for me.  

 

Day 548

18 months, a year and a half with no alcohol.  Reflecting about how my life has changed:

1) That terrible guilt, despair and self recrimination has stopped.  Alcohol was a source of deep negativity in so many ways but that was not clear to me in the midst of it all.  

2) Life is very manageable without alcohol.  The great fear I had that I could not live without the support of alcohol was not valid.  In truth, alcohol was the source of much of what was wrong with my life.  Where I then saw it as a comfort, in truth it allowed me to numb emotions and as a result I did not deal with many things.  Honesty with myself and others has improved my life in so many ways.

3)  I practise self care now and I support myself in positive ways.  Meditation, exercise, journalling etc are all ways that I take care of myself.  I can trust myself now and so can others. I am learning to take care of myself and be honest about my needs.

4) I don't have things all figured out but I am growing emotionally and I am working on it.  I am very hopeful and I  do know that things will work out now.  

5) I feel real joy at times and I am so grateful that I began this journey to an alcohol free life.  



Day 515

Tough slogging again to get on this website.  Frustrating can't be fixed in the near future!
I was at a social event that I hosted recently for my daughter and realized that I didn't even consider having a taste of champagne.  It wasn't even a consideration, not an issue at all.  I was very comfortable socializing without alcohol, such a change from a year ago. 
Also, long standing issues with a family member are working themselves through.  In fact, I believe that because I have worked alcohol and emotional issues through, I am able to stand up and say "enough" and take care of my own needs.  This is not selfish.  This is called self care and I am entitled to this.  It is not easy but it is freeing and empowering.  Good for both of us I believe.

Day 500

Well, have not been able to access this website for a month.  Now, using a new browser it is will very, very slow and won't be fixed for several months.  May need to find an alternate source of support. 

I am a grandparent and what a joy to hold the new wee babe in my arms.  I am a sober grandparent and that is the best!  

I have been working at weaning myself from a medication for sleeping these past months.  I had decided to do one thing at a time so as not to overwhelm: alcohol first and now the Trazadone.  I took a very low dose at night when needed and this eventually became every night.  My doctor tells me that it is okay and not addicting but I know that if nothing else, it is psychologically addictive.  I have slowly been working myself down and I am getting there.  I don't want to be dependent on anything that alters my reality now.  I will get there I know. 

Feeling pretty proud that I am dealing with this now too.  Life with eyes wide open allows me to appreciate the beauty as well as learning to allow the tough feelings in.  Life is a journey of growth and I am finding that looking within is where the happiness is to be found. 

Counselling tomorrow and I am looking forward to it.


Day 468

Yesssssss------This pretty much sums it up:

"I wanted a drink.  There were a hundred reasons why a man (woman) will want  a drink, but I wanted one now for the most elementary reason of all.  I didn't want to feel what I was feeling, and a voice within was telling me that I needed a drink, that I couldn't bear it without it. 

But that voice is a liar.  You can always bear the pain.  It'll hurt, it'll burn like acid in an open wound, but you can stand it.  And, as long as you can make yourself go on choosing the pain over the relief, you can keep going."

~Lawrence Block

I do have the strength within.  I just didn't know that I could do life without alcohol.

Day 466

What a beautiful, sunny fall day!  I am feeling in such a good place right now.  Meeting a friend for coffee today and I enjoyed her company so much.  I was talking about my life and realizing that I did not feel the need to justify my life and happiness as I often have felt in the past.  My life is right for me in the present  and I am worrying less about what others think about me.  Becoming less of a people pleaser slowly but surely.

My retirement is becoming a time of such contentment and satisfaction with things.  I am so glad that I am not in the midst of that drinking-despair and the terribly sad feelings that went along with that.  So thankful that I did take the tough step to quit drinking many months ago.  

It is so strange now to think that I couldn't see life without my best friend and comforter-wine.  To see now, so clearly, that wine did absolutely nothing positive for me.  Rather, it stood in the way of my healing from the past, of handling relationships with family members in a way that was better for us all, of my happiness.  It kept me sad, despairing, shamed and isolated.  I never want to go back to that again.

Rediscovering the confident, open and fearless person who had been in hiding for such a long time.  



 
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